Discover e-Solutions (DeSL) has expanded its Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system to include a new Visual Merchandising Planning module specifically designed for range planning, merchandising and buying roles in the fashion, apparel and footwear sectors.

Range planning, from setting the concept, purpose and direction through to selecting the products and finalising the price, distribution and sales forecast, is an iterative process that typically involves buying and merchandising working hand in hand, often with somewhat opposing objectives.

Another layer of complexity comes from the fact that realistic range planning is becoming more difficult in the face of increased competition, and consumers who want more variety and have increasingly complex product needs.

DeSL’s Visual Merchandising planning solution enables fact-based product-driven business planning. Dynamically linked to line and production planning, the new module provides the ability to visually display the product range, slicing and dicing a product to spot gaps from early product planning to final development.

“We’re the first company to deliver this type of planning and execution software for the fashion sector and are leading the way in real time, web-based, collaborative 360 degree merchandising and assortment management,” claims DeSL’s managing director, Colin Marks.

“Being able to take a design directly from Adobe Illustrator, nominate it as a candidate for a slot, allocate any required actions, check its projected and actual costs, assign to a supplier and check capacity for delivery is a totally new paradigm which is unmatched.”

Decisions like “is my colour mix correct?”, “what’s my fabric commitment by composition and mill?”, “are my deliveries balanced?”, “have I got my price points correct by silhouette?”, and “are my margins to plan?” are all available at a touch of a button – and all end-user defined, the company says.